04.15.2010 08:18 AM

April 15 bits and pieces

  • Bonkers for bikes: If you live in or around Toronto, you (a) aspire to exist in a world where everyone is ferrying themselves hither and yon on bicycles but (b) don’t and can’t.  The fact is that the city is too big, and too busy, for this latest bit of NDP-inspired insanity to be permitted to succeed.  The candidates (with the exception of George Smitherman, who is running a classic frontrunner boy-in-the-bubble campaign, when I’m not even sure he’s the frontrunner) have all taken clear stands on the issue.  Vote accordingly.
  • Courage in Quebec: Voices are raised against what – to me, and precious few others – is a clear infringement on civil liberties and religious freedom.  I hope the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party heed these cautionary voices.
  • Grit Health: Medicare – like a belief in a strong central government, fiscal prudence and a vibrant social network – have always been a cornerstone of Liberal Party policy.  I’m glad to see that has been reaffirmed.
  • Raptors Rap: They were amazing, last night, against the Knicks – but it didn’t matter.  The Bulls’ win against Charlotte, down South, sealed their fate.  No playoff berth.  It’s over. For me, it was actually painful, because the Raps have been a happy constant in an occasionally-unhappy constellation, this year.  And – as my sons and I were discussing on the way to school this morning – if Chris Bosh goes, we are well and truly (ahem) hooped. Bottom line: CHRIS BOSH, DON’T GO.
  • Don’t i-mug me! As I opined on FB last night, the month-long delay of iPad’s release in Canada now makes me a riper target for a techno-mugging.  As such, I have retained the services of a team of Apple bodyguards to protect me and my iPad.  So don’t get any ideas.


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    James Smith says:

    Bonkers- I guess as a sometimes; or fair weather cyclist I think this bike lane is a great idea. Point taken that it is not connected to an other bike lane, but this is a summertime demonstration of what proper bike lanes could look like. It’s not just Dippers, (although the majority of Bike commuters I know are Dippers) I started this week to ride my bike to the GO Train from home & would use my Bike from the GO train to my clients in the city more if I had a more safe option. As it is, I mostly walk.

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    Elizabeth says:

    I understand (now) that the choice to wear a niqab is more of a spiritual one; I’ve read a couple of paragraphs in the media somewhere — would like to read more information about it.

    If it is not something that’s forced on women – then I’m not against it, if it is their choice to do so. I’ve been talking to American friends who see no problem with it – and that surprised me. Plus – there are niqab wearers in Alberta that nobody’s making a fuss about.

    I wonder if, in the public ID matter – photos of irises would be enough?

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    Chris Tindal says:

    Toronto “too big and too busy” for cycling infrastructure? When did we get bigger than Manhattan? It’s the other way around, friend. We’re growing too big and too busy to move into the future being as car-dependent as we are. Opponents of this plan have said it will lead to “gridlock” and that “no one” will use the bike lanes. When they’re proven wrong during the test period this summer, can we move on please?

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    Robbie says:


    Call it Couage: This ban is an infringement on civil rights and religious freedom. We need to look at the big picture of what message are we endorsing. Somewhat distantly related to this matter is the fact BC declared April 14 anti-bullying day. Christy Clark’s Pink Shirt Day was a great idea for getting public attention on the need for respect, acceptance, and tolerance of differences in schools and work places.

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    Jason Cherniak says:

    Miller insists on destroying Toronto before he leaves his job. You shouldn’t be surprised, though – they already spent a year ruining the Allen EXPRESSWAY to bring buses to the last station on a subway line that is about to be expanded to Highway 7.

    Next time you want to go for a walk, try the beautiful new sidewalks at Allen and Sheppard.


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    Winnipegger says:

    While it may be a funny notion in Toronto, “I-mugging” and such is a very real problem here in Winnipeg. Citizens have been advised by police to not use Ipods or other such music devices when out alone. In fact, we have also been advised to never use the white ear buds that come with Ipods, because our lowlife thugs will make you a priority target knowing that an Ipod is attached (rather than some other brand of MP3 player). I haven’t been mugged and assaulted in almost three years now, and I attribute that because I’ve since stopped having any techno-gadget visible (and no, I wasn’t really ‘asking for it,’ it was during the day for just a basic cell phone).

    Anyway, even though Toronto is a pretty a safe city, I’d imagine you should still be careful out there with any type of electronics. It really is no laughing matter.

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    Eugene Parks says:

    Warren writes: “me a riper target for a techno-mugging”

    you are afraid of a bunch of computer nerds?

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      James Bow says:

      I doubt that. But he has some reason to be cautious (rather than afraid) about the thugs that would sell to particularly unscrupulous nerds.

      I know you’re just keeping things light, but I can tell you of my own experience where my family had an iBook G4 and a black Macbook stolen from our car in Chicago, as we were packing up to leave our hotel. I had just placed my computer bag in the middle of our rented vehicle after identifying it loudly to the others around me who were going to be making the trip back (my mistake), as this was also the bag which contained our passports. We moved down two parking spaces down the street to say goodbye to Nora’s grandpa, who was heading back to Des Moines, and then piled into our vehicle and drove off. It wasn’t until we reached Kalamazoo that we realized that the computer bag was no longer in the car and that, indeed, it had been stolen.

      The thieves had a thirty-second window, if that, to reach in and snatch the computer bag. They also took a portable DVD player that we’d been using to entertain the kids on the trip. The really frightening thing was, they did this while baby Nora was asleep in the car. The really frustrating thing was, as the bag was also the bag that contained our passports, how were we going to get back across the border?

      Well, thankfully, the Canada Custom’s Official listened to our sob story, and we also gave her a reference to the police report we filed that night in Kalamazoo. We managed to return home without incident. Our homeowners’ insurance paid for the replacement of the lost electronics, and we had new computers back from Apple by the end of that week. The passports took almost four months to replace.

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        Eugene Parks says:

        I hear ya James. heck, my Mountain Equipment Coop cycling glasses were stolen at a coffee shop in Victoria… a simple pick up as someone walked by.

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    James Bow says:

    I’m not sure I like the phrase “(cannot) be permitted to succeed.” It will either succeed, or it won’t. If it actually enhances the mobility of the downtown for the people who live and work there, you still don’t think we should accept that?

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    Pat C says:

    A couple of weeks back you posted a cartoon about those who continue denying climate change. Well for those who agree with you, it means we are going to have to change. It’s about sustainability, and cycling and transit are the future of modern sustainable cities, polluting and space taking single occupied vehicles are not.
    The uproar over bike lanes reminds me of when London began it’s tremendously successful and recently expanded red zone program, charging vehicles entering the city core.
    Toronto badly needs massive investment and expansion of its transit infrastructure – now. The City of Toronto does not have the revenue to fund this type of project, but they can afford start making roads safe for all vehicles that use them – that includes bicycles, not just automobiles. Unfortunately, the province has now shown its conservatism and unwillingness to invest in a sustainable future for the city by delaying $4 billion in transit funding.
    So yeah, I think it’s time we take some pretty gutsy steps by changing our transportation focus from single occupant vehicles to mass transit and non/less polluting modes of individual travel.


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    Tim says:

    Pat, the difference is that London already had a massive transit system in place before they started tolling drivers. If Toronto had the equivelant, you could take the subway right downtown from as far out as Oakville or Pickering…and that’s not even including the overground trains.
    And it doesn’t snow 6 months of the year in London, or Amsterdam, or Paris or the other cycling shangri-las that bikers here wish we could emulate.
    The Ontario goverment should definitely be spending be paying to upgrade transit, but in the meantime grinding traffic to a halt to accomodate a tiny handful of cyclists doesn’t make sense. Its not like there’s a large number of people just dying to bike to work in the snow, rain, heat, etc. if only they’d build the bike lanes.

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      James Smith says:

      London faced the same kind of gridlock when they brought in the tolls as it did in the 19th Century when it built the TUBE, Toronto ain’t quite there yet – but we’re getting close.Think of where we’d be if the nay sayers killed John Robart’s GO Train from OAKVILLE & PICKERING. Toronto’s geology makes building subways much more expensive than London, New York, or Montreal. If not for a certain former Ontario Premier there would be two additional subway lines, rather than one the one presently goes nowhere.
      You may know that Toronto has a very similar climate to New York where they are building miles of bike lanes every year. A little town called Montreal also has TeeHo beat when it comes to bike lanes; I also understand that it has been known to snow there as well!
      I know several brave folks who bike 300+days a year in Toronto. REAL Bike Lanes cleared or ice & snow would make this safer for all. While I don’t bike in the winter, I do walk 20-30 minutes to and from the GO Train. You know, I sometimes ski in the winter, & I have to do it outside in some very cold weather even. We’re Canadian we should be made of sterner stuff.
      If you joined me & got out of your auto-voiture a little more you might notice the HUNDREDS of bike commuters I see every morning streaming into the Downtown, dodging me, cars, trucks, & Streetcars. Like I said earlier, I would cycle in the city A LOT MORE, if I had a more safe way to travel.
      Bikes & perhaps tolls are part of the solution to GHG, urban sprawl, and your grinding traffic, putting your head in the sand and wishing that maybe someday when transit is perfect we can then afford the luxury of bike lanes I respectfully suggest is avoiding addressing the problem.
      As for the money, well I think we can walk (or cycle) & chew gum at the same time. But heck, perhaps if the Toronto Port Authority pays the $39 million I see the Supreme Court has ordered them to pay the city TeeHo might be able to afford some more bike lanes. 😉

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    Derek Lipman says:


    Sadly, CB4 will go. He is a terrific player and ambassador to the city. He was ahead of his time vis-a-vis social networking and the NBA, and a fan-friendly player. We’ll miss him.

    The smartest mayoral candidate will look at the egregious Rob Ford’s position on bike lanes, and take the opposite approach. If this makes me a “moron” (a phrase some threadsters give to Miller supporters), so be it.

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    Jordon Cooper says:

    A max contract is too much for CB4. The Raps are a flawed team and I think part of the problem is building around CB4 who is a great #2 but not a #1 guy.

    I know you are at risk at being techno mugged but I can’t think of a less intimidating group of hired goons than Apple goons. I’ll take John Hodgeman over that scrawny Apple kid any day.

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    Derek Lipman says:


    You echo the mercurial Bob McCown and the guys on the FAN590. I caught a fascinating discussion a couple of months ago in which they discussed Bosh’s greatness. If the Raps had the supporting cast, CB4 would be that #1 guy.

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    Reality Bites says:

    Last time I checked, Montreal got lots more snow than Toronto. New York is comparable. Toronto is absolutely pathetic on bike paths, let alone SAFE bike paths.

    All Rossi has accomplished with his hostility is ensured I won’t even consider voting for him. I don’t want a mayor who wants Toronto to not only not be at the forefront, but to remain far behind other major North American cities

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    S. Peterson says:

    Having spent two months in Copenhagen at a hotel where we could sit and watch the commuters every morning, I doubt if Toronto is too big and busy for biking. It would get a lot less car traffic busy in the summer if everyone was on a bike. And boy those Danes are in good shape. No obesity there. Think what is would do for your Ontario health budget to get all those people moving.

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    S. Peterson says:

    On yes, and I hear the Muslim girl speaking and she said she was quite willing to take off her face covering in certain circumstances to show a woman who she was and if absolutely necessary even to show her face to a man to affirm her identity. She certainly wasn’t being made to wear the niqab. It was her personal choice. I think the government of Quebec is way off track here.

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    Eric says:

    The GTA is not too big, or even too cold, to bike everywhere. It sure as heck isn’t too hilly. Some of us do it year round. The rest of you just need to get off your lazy bums and make it happen.

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      Warren says:

      I look sillier than usual in a bike helmet. Is there not a fashion argument to be made?

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        scanner says:

        Groan, Warren … not the “dorky bike helmet” argument? Anyway you are 4sure a longboard boy: http://www.longboardliving.ca/

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          James Bow says:

          Helmets are getting better, Warren. A lot more stylish.

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    lukev says:

    Re: Bike lanes

    So now the basis for building anything is that “everybody can use it or it should not be built”? No more sidewalks, because not everybody can walk to work! No more highways, since half a million Ontarians have suspended licenses. Not everybody uses the GO trains either, so lets close those too.

    The fact is, the more people who can switch from car to bike, means less traffic for the people who need to drive.

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